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TORONTO — With three-year-old son Tinashe stealing the show, Dwayne De Rosario officially announced his retirement from soccer Saturday.

The 37-year-old De Rosario actually called an end to his 18-year pro career on May 10 via social media, saying he was becoming a community ambassador for Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment.

Saturday’s news conference at BMO Field gave the longtime Canadian international, a Toronto native, a more formal opportunity to say goodbye.

“It’s never an easy decision. But when I step back and I look at my son and look at my family and the time I’m being able to spend with them now, it’s one that I look back and I really enjoy this moment right now.” he said.

“No better way to retire than at home,” he added.

Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko used the occasion to announce that the club will hold a testimonial match for the former MLS MVP on June 20, ahead of the MLS team’s game against New York City FC.

Playing for San Jose, Houston, Toronto FC (twice), the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United, De Rosario won the league championship four times, was twice named championship game MVP and earned MVP honours in the 2006 all-star game. He was the league MVP in 2011 — he was runner-up on two other occasions — when he also captured the Golden Boot.

A forward turned attacking midfielder simply known as DeRo, he scored 104 MLS goals and added another 22 for his country, a Canadian record. He remains Toronto FC’s career leader in goals, assists, shots, shots on goal, game-winning goals and multi-goal games.

“Dwayne departs the game as an absolute legend, in every sense of the word, both for soccer and MLS but also Canadian soccer,” said Bezbatchenko. “Dwayne is a winner and a champion.”

De Rosario, whose four kids range in age from three to 17, took the podium with Tinashe in tow. The little boy with a mop of curls quickly started exploring the microphone and tape recorders in front of him, as well as checking his dad’s ear for lint.

Then he went slightly rogue, checking out the podium and grabbing hold of the cord attached to the backdrop. Nothing happened, however, and the news conference went on until the little boy asked for a snack.

Is he a handful, De Rosario was asked later?

“Yes. I like it like that,” he said with a smile. “I want no other way.”

The show by the littlest De Rosario comes just days after Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry’s daughter Riley stole the show post-game at the NBA playoffs.

De Rosario is also an ambassador for the Pan American Games, having represented Canada at the 1999 Games.

He also has his DeRo United soccer schools and DeRo Foundation.


Follow @NeilMDavidson on Toronto


Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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